May 8, 2013 | Retailers face a challenge far beyond marketing and selling their products – it’s a challenge they may not even be aware of: shipping their products from point A to point B – yes, shipping. The process of getting an online retailer’s product from the warehouse to the consumer involves shipping – whether by air, ground, or sea. Because transportation regulations govern shipping, there are rules with which the shipper must comply. In addition to this, many retailers do not know that they sell regulated or hazardous materials. Here are five common misconceptions that online retailers have when it comes time to getting their products to their consumers.
- The materials in my catalog are not regulated.
– While that may be the case, don’t be so quick to judge. There are many regulated products that fall under the nine different hazard classes. If you are shipping items that contain batteries, aerosol cans, paints, cosmetics, or LED lights, those are all simply samples of items that are regulated and must be shipped according to certain regulations – that’s only the tip of the iceberg!
- I don’t ship the products – that’s UPS’s or FedEx’s job.
– While carriers like FedEx, UPS, DHS, and the postal service are responsible for actually transporting the packages containing your products to the consumer – you are actually the shipper of the goods. The shipper is the one who assumes responsibility for the packages.
- My supplier provides the MSDS/SDS information I need.
– Often, this data is out of date or is not correct. The best person to vet you catalog is an experienced hazmat professional who has real working experience with these materials. If an MSDS is wrong or contains information that is not accurate and an incident occurs resulting in damage to the environment or another person, the shipper is the party that will be fined, not the supplier.
- We have been shipping our products like this for a while; I don’t think we have anything to worry about.
– The best way to not pay for a consequence is to take the steps to make sure that consequence doesn’t occur. You may be “getting by” when it comes to compliance. Perhaps you have not run into any regulatory issues or concerns. It is better to be proactive that reactive. Remember, accidents are called accidents for a reason. Sometimes you are not the cause of such incidents. However, in the event that an accident does occur, don’t you want the least amount of harm and damage to be caused, if any? In some cases, companies have been fined millions of dollars (some have been fined out of business) for failing to comply with regulations and consequential accidents that have taken place. Don’t drain your funds, don’t tarnish your reputation!
- I already have a compliance manager.
– Great! That is indicative of a proactive approach to achieving compliance. Our experts have previously worked as compliance managers. Our aim is to lend our expertise and real world experience in working with hazardous materials to those we help. We have provided support to experienced and inexperienced hazmat professionals – especially in the area of trade compliance. We are ready to help alleviate the burden and help you save time, talent, and money.